Parramatta Road!
  |  First Published: December 2002

Parramatta Road!

This is the time when the Lake Macquarie area is invaded by holidaymakers from all walks of life, and what a great place to spend that precious holiday.

There are activities here to suit just about anything that takes your fancy. The huge expanse of Lake Macquarie and the popular Swansea Channel naturally put boating, fishing and prawning high on the list of these activities.

I have often described Swansea Channel as the Parramatta road of the waterways, and I’m not kidding. During holiday times it can be a daunting task to navigate through the vessels using the channel but if everyone stuck to the simple rules of the waterways, there would be no problem.

The worst offenders are the people who anchor their small fishing boats in the bounds of a marked channel. Your vessel should be under control at all times within the markers of a designated channel. It is most difficult to control a vessel hanging off the end of an anchor rope!

The fishing has been up and down over the past couple of months but January should see things settle down to the good fishing we expect of our area.

Flathead have to be the most sought-after fish in our estuaries. Every holidaymaker fisho who visits the area chases flathead and why not? They are easy to catch and excellent table fare. And, despite the bashing they take, the lizards keep turning up in numbers every year. They will eat just about anything, from lures to a half-rotten pilly. But for best results, the live or fresh baits will come out in front every time.

The lure that worked one day may not work the next. The soft plastics are becoming very popular, and for good reasons – they are cheap and they work not only on flathead but just about any species in salt or fresh water. The hard lures also work well but can be snag-prone when working over weed beds.

Flathead will eat anything that wobbles or wriggles providing the fish is in the mood, and the angler puts the lure in the strike zone.

Good quality bream and blackfish are still turning up in Swansea Channel and around the drop-over into the deeper water of the lake. The blackfish may taper off this month but the bream usually stay around through the warmer months. Fresh baits or small lures are the way to go about catching a bag of these silver beauties.

Those elbow-slapping whiting have returned with the warm weather, and they should be around at least for the remainder of the Summer. The most popular locations for these silver bullets are the gutters of Blacksmiths Beach and the shallow channels between the sand islands opposite the Pelican Marina. Best baits off the beach are beach worms, while blood or tubeworms work well in the channel. I have caught whiting on the incoming tide, but the outgoing tide has always produced the best results.

The fishing in Lake Macquarie and Swansea Channel should continue to improve as the warmer currents move inshore, bringing with them the baitfish and the big critters that chase them. Off shore should produce some exciting stuff in the form of flathead, flounder and snapper with the odd tailor turning up. Best locations are off Redhead, Blacksmiths Moon Island and Catherine Hill Bay.



This flathead fell for an unbranded lure from the $ bin at the local tackle shop. The sinker accidentally left on the line kept the lure on the bottom nicely.


Teresa with a pan sized Flathead caught on an old piece of slab mullet.

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